By Denton Diablos FC
In soccer, as in all sports, some games are just bigger than others. Championships, knockout games, must-win games of all types and for all sorts of reasons. But in soccer, there exists a special type of game that can define an entire season on its own: the derby. When it comes to derbies, all records and previous statistics get thrown out the window.
While there was some distance between the Diablos and the Vaqueros in the Lone Star Conference standings, both teams knew there was much more at stake than another regular season conference matchup.
In an absolutely gorgeous venue, Garvey-Rosenthal Soccer Stadium on the campus of TCU in downtown Fort Worth, Texas, the Diablos looked to close out the season series and clinch the second leg of the Chisholm Trail Clasico. This would lock up another year of ownership of one of the best trophies in all of lower league soccer, the Chisholm Trail Clasico Championship Belt.
As the cloud cover rolled in and cooled off what turned out to be a lovely Texas summer evening, the action on the pitch heated up. The Vaqueros entered the match coming off their best run of form in the still young season, with a 3-0 win in their previous match and a 2-2 draw in the match prior. The Diablos entered riding a two-game win streak, winning their previous matches 6-0 and 2-0 respectively.
While the action was hot and heavy the first half, the scoreboard remained blank as both teams came out of the first half water break. But thanks to some words of wisdom from head coach Ramon Raya, the Diablos finally found the opening goal in the 40th minute as Julian Barajas, making his 24th start in Diablos history, collected his third assist of the season and sixth of his Diablos career. He created his own time and space on the Fort Worth end line and lofted a delicate chip to the back post where a waiting Carlos Santamaria nodded home his first Diablos goal in his young career, clinching the 1-0 Diablos lead.
The Diablos would head to the locker room at halftime holding onto the 1-0 lead, as Raya had changes in mind to help try and unlock the stingy Vaqueros defense.
The Diablos wasted no time in putting their stamp onto the game as Brock Pope, making his 20th start in his Diablos career, burned down the left hand side, streaking past two Vaqueros defenders before the cheeky finish slipped past the Vaqueros goalkeeper and doubled the Diablos lead.
The Diablos continued to press and create opportunities, but it wouldn’t pay off until the 70th minute. Michael Agyeman would take his turn burning down the sideline, winning the line and slotting the back pass to a waiting Carlos Flores who coolly slotted home the Diablos third goal on the evening, and the proverbial nail in the coffin for the Vaqueros hopes of taking back the Chisholm Trail Clasico Belt.
Diablos captain Carlos Flores made his club leading 32nd NPSL start, setting a new club record.
Connor Pettigrew collected his third consecutive clean sheet in as many starts and setting a new Diablos record for clean sheets in a season and career clean sheets.
The Diablos moved to 5-1-1 on the season, moving into second place in the Lone Star Conference standings. Denton will host third place Laredo Heat this Thursday June 23rd in Denton, providing a high stakes rematch of last year’s Lone Star Conference championship match.
Photos Courtesy of Denton Diablos FC